Disaster management systems have become the primary focus in various countries following COVID-19. The pandemic experience has provided valuable lessons in disaster prevention, mitigation, and recovery.
Through Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia was selected as the host country for the ASEAN Institute for Disaster Health Management (AIDHM) for the next two years.
The AIDHM members have also selected the UGM Faculty of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing to organize the 2nd ASEAN Academic Conference (AAC) on Disaster Health Management.
“We welcome Indonesia as the host for this AAC, which aims to oversee all information and knowledge in ASEAN related to disaster management,” said Dr. Sumarjaya, Director of the Crisis Center at the Indonesian Ministry of Health, on Tuesday (October 17).
“So, what we have and what other countries have, such as Thailand, the Philippines, and others, can be shared to enhance disaster management strategies. This is important because almost all regions in Indonesia fall into the disaster-prone red zone. It means our readiness must be prepared from now.”
According to the National Disaster Management Agency, throughout 2023, there have been 852 flood disasters, 487 forest fires, 442 landslides, 24 high tides, and 21 earthquakes.
These disasters have resulted in at least 4.2 million people displaced, 5,552 injured, 199 fatalities, and ten missing persons.
The overall figures reflect the lack of disaster management systems. Therefore, this conference encourages ASEAN countries to cooperate in formulating disaster management systems that suit their conditions.
“As a university, we have been very active in dealing with disasters, especially tsunamis. We often bring in experts for several disasters that have occurred in Indonesia,” said Professor Yodi Mahendradhata, MD, the Dean of the UGM Faculty of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing.
“This is also an extraordinary and essential collaboration to elaborate on our efforts in the health sector. Therefore, we are also ready to conduct training and research together with ASEAN countries.”
As the host of the AIDHM, UGM has five mandates to lead disaster management strategies in ASEAN:
- Organizing academic activities to strengthen the capacity of personnel in disaster health, such as curriculum development, training, and simulation exercises;
- Providing consultations to support and assist in developing and implementing disaster health response activities;
- Facilitating, guiding, and supporting the conduct of regional collaborative exercises on disaster health management in ASEAN Member States;
- Supporting the ASEAN Academic Network on Disaster Health Management (AANDHM), including the steering committee, in implementing its mandates as described in the ToR; and
- Supporting and facilitating the establishment of a regional network of training centers in ASEAN Member States that implement general and specific learning, education, and research programs on disaster health management.
The 2nd ASEAN Academic Conference, held over two days, is part of the AIDHM’s mandate to initiate discussions on international disaster management systems.
“It is worth noting that the first ASEAN Academic Conference could not be held offline due to the pandemic. So, it can be said that Indonesia has become the first to have the opportunity to host an offline ACC,” said Dr. Datu Respatika, MD, Assistant to the Vice Dean for Cooperation, Alumni, and Community Service.
“Participants mostly came from neighboring countries, sending 5-11 delegates. What deserves appreciation from the Ministry of Health and UGM is that around 80 participants were from Indonesia.”